MK Dons: The Season Ahead

MK Dons: The Season Ahead  -
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 04: Milton Keynes Dons manager Karl Robinson make a point to George Baldock during the Sky Bet League One match between Northampton Town and Milton Keynes Dons at Sixfields Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

It’s clear to see that the majority of MK Dons fans are disappointed at the moment. Following relegation from the Championship, the Dons have struggled to adapt to life back in League One. Just eight points have been gained from the seven games they have played. This is a total that is five points behind where they were at this point in their last League One season. There’s also a drastic difference of eleven places between these two campaigns.

The obvious way this can be rectified is to gain points. Though that is something MK Dons have struggled with this season, they can take confidence from the point they earned at league-leaders Bolton Wanderers at the weekend. Ryan Colclough scored his first goal for the club in a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

The other game this month saw the Dons crash to a 3-2 defeat at local rivals Northampton. After going 3-0 down in 30 minutes at Sixfields, goals from Dean Bowditch and Samir Carruthers almost pulled back a point for the Dons, but it was too little too late. Nine more points are up for grabs this month, in games against Oxford United, Fleetwood Town and Bury.

Oxford have made a comfortable start to life in League One, considering they lost talisman Kemar Roofe to Leeds United in the summer. The U’s sit in 11th place having collected 10 points from a possible 21.

Last time out, they were 2-0 winners over Swindon Town, with Chris Maguire scoring both goals. This should immediately alert Karl Robinson that Maguire is someone to look out for at the weekend. The 27-year-old is also Oxford’s joint top-scorer on three goals, the same as fellow striker, Wes Thomas.

It is clear Oxford are not going to be pushovers, otherwise they wouldn’t be above MK Dons in the league. However, if the Dons can repeat their second half display from the Bolton game, they could get a comfortable three points from this game.

Another side who have made a surprisingly good start is Fleetwood. Uwe Rosler’s side have lost just once in the league so far, a 2-1 defeat at Bolton. Aside from that loss, they have also gained three wins and three draws, one of which was against relegated Charlton at home.

The Lancashire side have had a fairly successful time in the early cup rounds too. They took Championship side Leeds all the way to penalties after a 2-2 draw at Highbury, but ended up losing 5-4 on spot-kicks. They then beat Blackburn Under-21s in the controversial EFL Trophy.

Striker David Ball currently tops their goal-scoring charts with four. The forward scored a stunner in the 2-2 draw against Charlton, so is definitely another player the Dons need to be wary of.

The Dons have a good record against Fleetwood, registering two wins over them in their last season in the same division. However, in an away game following very different starts to the season, it might not be so easy this time around. A point may have to be seen as a good result if their starts continue.

In between the two teams above, in league position, lies Bury. The Shakers have also made a more confident start to the season than their upcoming opponents. They sit in seventh place, just outside the play-offs, with 11 points.

The man to look out for will be midfielder Danny Mayor, who has three goals to his name this season. Also to look out for will be former Premier League striker James Vaughan, who has also scored three in his opening two games for the club. Despite their solid start, it’s a game from which the Dons should be able to take three points, if they can play to a standard higher than that which they’ve shown this season.

If the Dons were to take seven points from these three games, then they would certainly be in a far better position than they currently are. A total of 15 points would ease them into the play-off places, which should be their realistic aim for this season. If the performance from the Bolton game is anything to go by, then the improvements to make this happen are already underway.